How To Use Facebook To Market Your Small Business

Everybody knows about Facebook for personal communication between friends and family, but more recently it’s become a very effective tool for small businesses as well.

As robust and capable as Facebook for business is, it still goes relatively unnoticed by a vast majority of small business owners.

Facebook Fan Pages are excellent tools for marketing small businesses.

The irony is that the reason Facebook isn’t used for small business marketing would seem to be because of it’s reputation in the personal social space.

Facebook is so popular among teens and moms for pictures and silly daily updates that people are slow to accept it’s capabilities as a legitimate business tool.

It’s an identity crisis, but Facebook will certainly overcome it and this is clear when you look at the results that those who use it for business are getting.

The cat will be out of the bag soon enough and those that jump on the bandwagon first will reap much greater rewards than those who wait. Those that build an engaged social audience first will have earlier and more frequent communication with customers in their specific market.

The explanation for this lies in the functionality of the platform and the nature of the relationship between small local businesses and their customers. Small local businesses socialize with their customers. They know each others names and often mingle in offline social circles like the little league field and the grocery store.

Local business is not a nameless faceless proposition. You ever use the phrase, “it’s a small world”? Never as small as a small town or local community.

What could potentially spread the word for a small local business better than a platform used by EVERYONE to discuss what they like and don’t like? And, this same platform is set up so everything I like is immediately visible to all my friends, who in turn can like it and then all their friends see it as well.

Stop and think about that for a second.

And that’s just the beginning…

Let’s take and separate the basic Facebook features into two parts; we’ll call them “Active” and “Passive”

Active Features (what you can do):

A business owner can

Sell goods and services right off the page
Post pictures showing off the business and what the business has to offer.
Post videos with whatever content showcases the business or maybe testimonials from satisfied customers.
Post links and status updates to all of his fans. These could include specials or discounts or events.
Every fan of the business page will then see these actions in their news feed as often as they are posted so customers know in real time what’s going on at the business.

Passive Features (what your fans can do for you):

A fan of your page can;

Comment about you, so ALL of their friends will see this activity in their news feed.
Fans (and non-fans) can ‘check in’ at your location, letting their friends know they were at your place of business. This also lets their friends know where you physically are.
Mention you in wall posts and tag you in photos.
The magic of check in’s, and tags is that they become clickable links back to your fan page for all of your fan’s non-fan friends to find you.

As cool as all this is, it’s the tip of the iceberg. With a little thought and customization, the possibilities are endless.

I’m a baby boomer and my kids often use Facebook as a replacement for their phones, my dad (83 years young) uses it and all my friends and their wives live on the platform for hours a day.

Another cool function also allows you to convert your Facebook profile to a fan page and move your friends over to become fans. For business owners with lots of friends, but no fans, they can have a large following almost immediately.

As there is no cost for Facebook pages, there are only three possible reasons I can think of that a small business owner would choose not to leverage Facebook fan pages;

Ignorance-they either don’t understand Facebook or refuse to acknowledge it’s reality
Resources-They don’t have or want to commit the proper resources to social media
Time-they live in their business and cannot reconcile taking time away from the business to learn this new medium
We speak to small business owners every day and continue to be amazed at how slow many of them are to adapt to this new realty.

Change is hard for most people. We get that. Facebook is easy to integrate into any business and those who get on board first will be market leaders within their community.

Those who don’t…

Have a nice day.

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